Attitudes and behaviors of food donors and perceived needs and wants of food shelf clients

Heidi Verpy, Chery Smith, Marla Riecks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: Explore the attitudes and behaviors of individuals who donate foods to food shelves and the perceived needs of the clientele using the food shelves in terms of cultural, health, and nutritional concerns. Design: Qualitative methods (focus group interviews). Setting: Focus groups (5 client and 7 donor) were conducted at food shelves, churches, and community centers. Participants: Client focus group members (n = 31) were mostly middle-aged and elderly individuals of mixed ethnicity and donor focus group members (n = 64) were mostly white and well educated and had incomes > $50 000. Main Outcome Measure(s): In-depth focus groups were conducted to obtain information regarding attitudes and beliefs of individuals who donate food and perceptions of needs among food shelf clients. Analysis: Transcripts were analyzed systematically by coding comments according to categories and examining for common themes. Results: Food donations did not match client needs for people with different ethnic backgrounds or age groups and food safety concerns. Conclusions and Implications: This study demonstrates the need for nutrition educators to work with food shelf and food bank directors regarding the education of staff and general population on appropriate food donations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Food donor behaviour
  • Food shelves

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